Change in family dynamics
In the past dads have passed on “male” skills onto their sons, however over the last couple of decades, fathers have become busier (or absent) and have not instilled these skills into their sons and as a result there has been a decline of “male skill” in the home. Additionally, in this era of outsourcing, men are as likely to hire a handyman or employ the services of specialist trades to get these tasks done. The loss of these male skills is a reflection of changing needs, changing technologies, redefined roles and new interests.
Last year McCrindle Research undertook research to examine the decline in these male skills — below are the percentage of men under 30s who are able to perform the following tasks:
- Tying a reef knot: 44%
- Building a cubby or tree house: 46.5%
- Fixing a leaky tap: 55%
- Repairing a punctured tire on a pushbike: 60%
- Changing the car’s oil: 63%
Lighting a wood fire (63%) and putting up a shelf (68%), were also ranked badly, with a third of the male population lacking the skills to confidently perform these tasks.
The reason why I found this interesting was when my son called DH to come and fix a leaky tap as he didn't have a clue how to do it nor did he know where in the hardware store to find what he needed - he is one of the 45% of under 30's who cannot fix a leaky tap.
Social Researcher Mark McCrindle said, “What we are seeing is not so much a decline in ‘man skills’ but rather a change in family dynamics, reflecting that both parents are likely to have full time jobs and greater demands on their time than ever before. Although skills such as mechanical repairs and home maintenance are on the decline, men are broadening their skills to include cooking, ironing and being hands on with the kids. The advent of lifestyle cooking shows have also raised the status of cooking from a domestic chore to a creative pursuit. Some of these new skills have much more appeal for men today than being up to their elbows in mechanical grease or puncture repair kits” McCrindle continued.
However are men broadening their skills (as can be seen in the list below) because more women are in full-time employment and there is now an expectation that dad will help around the home doing what was traditionally work that mum would do? And is this at the cost of dads losing their “male skills”?
Percentage of Australian Generation Y men who can confidently perform the following tasks:
- Helping to cook dinner: 72%
- Helping with the grocery shop: 71.5%
- Stacking the Dishwasher, helping to wash up: 70.6%
- Dropping the kids at school: 71.4%
- Clothes shopping: 68.0%
- Helping with the washing: 65.6%
- Doing the ironing: 61.2%
- Reading to the children: 62.0%